Tokyo Disney resort fully reopening theme parks after quake

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The tandem theme parks of the Tokyo Disney resort were scheduled to return to full operation Thursday for the first time since a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11.

Photos: Tokyo Disneyland reopens after the quake

The Tokyo DisneySea theme park is expected to reopen at 9 a.m. Tokyo time Thursday, 47 days after being shut after the disasters, which also triggered a nuclear crisis. DisneySea’s sister park, Tokyo Disneyland, reopened April 15 after crews repaired relatively minor quake damage there, and on Thursday it will extend its operating hours.

Two new attractions will make their debut Thursday at Tokyo DisneySea: the “Fantasmic” nighttime spectacular and the Mickey and Friends’ Greeting Trails character meet-and-greet area. The park has postponed plans to celebrate its 10th anniversary in September, out of consideration for victims of the disaster.

Meanwhile, at Tokyo Disneyland:

* The new “Easter Wonderland” parade made its debut when the park reopened. It featured floats themed to American and European customs, such as egg decorating, egg hunts and flower bonnets.

* On May 9 the new “Nightfall Glow” nighttime parade will temporarily replace the venerable “Electrical Parade: DreamLights,” which will go down for a two-month rehab.

* Big Thunder Mountain Railroad remains closed to repair quake damage to the rock surfaces surrounding the roller coaster. And for the time being, the park has reduced the monorail operating schedule and canceled the nightly fireworks show.

* Starting Thursday, Tokyo Disneyland will extend operating hours after closing early for the last two weeks while Japan experienced periodic rolling power outages.

To conserve energy, the parks and adjacent hotels have reduced lighting, limited air conditioning output, restricted escalators and turned off electric hand dryers. The resort plans to install three generators by summer to offset consumption.

Tokyo Disneyland drew 17,000 visitors on the first day of operations after the quake, compared with a daily resort average of about 70,000, according to the Japanese news station NHK. Oriental Land Co., which operates the Tokyo Disney resort, lost $245 million during the 34-day closure of Tokyo Disneyland, according to the Wall Street Journal.